Getting yourself tested for possible allergies can be an eye-opening and useful experience. Being afflicted with any number of allergy side effects can be both damaging to your overall health and disastrous to your quality of life, especially if you are constantly under allergy attack. Once you get to the cause of your allergies, you can move on with your life with solutions that work for you.
Also (sometimes incorrectly) called a RAST test, this method looks for certain kinds of antibodies within your blood to determine if you are allergic to anything. The actual RAST test is an older method which has generally been replaced with another called ELISA which is an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. These can test you for a variety of allergens such as different types of food, pet dander, seasonal things like pollen or mold and drug allergies. Keep in mind that all tests have their weak points and about 50% of all tests will give some false positives for food allergies.
This type of test is also helpful for tracking the sensitization progress in young children. Being tested early and discovering items that may become allergens later on can give you the option to begin allergy intervention treatment, possibly preventing asthma development, reducing the severity of skin conditions, as well as avoiding unexpected allergic reactions in infants.
Some reasons you may consider a blood test over another type of test include:
- Only needing one needle prick can be attractive for testing young children, as a skin test requires many
- Being able to stay on medication that could affect the accuracy of a skin test
- Avoiding the chance of a strong skin allergic reaction
- Eliminating the potential for making a skin condition worse, such as eczema or psoriasis
Both types of tests have drawbacks and benefits, so it really depends on your situation whether a blood test or skin test would be more accurate for you. The benefit of a skin test is that you can find out within 20 minutes usually whether you’re allergic to any of the substances you’re testing for. You must have a skilled person doing your test however for it to be accurate. There are also certain medications which can affect the accuracy of the results.
While some people choose to live with their allergies, sometimes not even knowing that they are experiencing side effects of an allergy, there are other options. You deserve to live a fully healthy life, and by working with your doctor and allergist, like an allergist in McLean, VA from Black & Kletz Allergy, you can pinpoint the source of your allergic reactions, get them under control and improve your quality of life.